Chinese Super League 2019 Weekly: Guangzhou Downs Shanghai as Title Race Enters Final Stretch
Guangzhou Evergrande beat Shanghai SIPG 2-0. This was the biggest match of the CSL season and would essentially decide who holds pole position in the title race between the past two season’s champions. Guangzhou manager Fabio Cannavaro was on the touchline despite the recent turmoil within the club between the manager and the board. Defending champions Shanghai SIPG looked to set the tone on a tense night in Guangzhou, as defender Shi Ke put in a strong challenge on Anderson Talisca as the ball was just out of play, prompting a scuffle between the sides in the 18th minute. In the 30th minute, Guangzhou threatened as Paulinho stung the palm of China’s number one keeper Yan Junling. in the 43rd minute, Paulinho showed some brilliant skill by flicking the ball over the head of Cai Huikang in midfield, and drove into the final third before playing Talisca through on goal. The Brazilian confidently finished the chance, giving Guangzhou the all important opener. Guangzhou dominated most of the match and their persistence as rewarded in the 90th minute when Talisca raced in on goal, and was brought down in the penalty area by Oscar. Talisca converted the penalty for his second goal of the match, giving the three points to Guangzhou as the south coast side seized the initiative in the title race.
Beijing Guoan beat Shanghai Shenhua 2-1. In the National Derby, Beijing Guoan secured a necessary three points against Shanghai Shenhua. Cedric Bakambu opened the scoring, nodding down Piao Cheng’s corner in the 5th minute to give the visitors the lead. Shanghai defender Bai Jiajun made a crucial goal line clearance in the 19th minute to keep the score at 1-0. In the 56th minute, Shanghai were awarded a penalty when a cross struck the outstretched arm of Li Ke. Former Watford striker Odion Ighalo stepped up to convert the penalty, equalizing the match at 1-1. However in the 62nd minute, Beijing’s talisman and captain, Renato Augusto, calmly slotted in a Cedric Bakambu cutback to put his side in front. The Brazilian wheeled away in celebration, kissing his club’s badge. Stephan El Shaarawy missed a chance to equalize in the 76th minute, scuffing his effort well wide. Beijing must not win their remaining two matches and hope Guangzhou Evergrande suffer defeat to have a chance at the title.
Jiangsu Suning beat Beijing Renhe 3-2. In-form Jiangsu defeated relegated Beijing Renhe to continue their unbeaten run, winning 5 of their last 6 matches. Alex Teixeira opened the scoring for Jiangsu with his 17th goal of the season. Santini doubled Jiangsu’s advantage in the 41st minute, with a clean volley from a Zhou Yun cross. The Croatian scored another before halftime, belting an absolute screamer into the top corner from the edge of the box. Elvis Manu pulled one back for Beijing in the 55th minute. Mahkete Diop scored from a corner to bring Beijing Renhe within 1 goal of an equalizer, but the match would end 3-2 to Jiangsu.
Henan Jianye beat Tianjin Tianhai 2-1. Relegation threatened Tianjin Tianhai fell to Henan Jianye, but remain 2 points ahead of Shenzhen FC in the fight to stay in the CSL. Christian Bassogog headed in a Fernando Karanga cross in the 5th minute to give Henan the lead. Just moments later, in the 7th minute, Korean defender Song Ju-Hun rose to meet a Leandro corner and power his header past Wu Yan to equalize for Tianjin. With the match meandering towards a draw, Fernando Karanga found a winner in the injury time, as Ivo slid him through on goal, and the striker precisely picked out the bottom corner.
Tianjin Teda beat Shenzhen FC 3-0. Tianjin Teda did their city neighbors a favor by defeating relegation contenders Shenzhen. Shenzhen’s Dyego Sousa missed a sitter in the 43rd minute, whiffing as the ball came across the 6 yard box. Shenzhen were made to pay for their wastefulness, as some sloppy defending after the interval led to a penalty for Tianjin. Brazilian Johnathan stepped up to make it 1-0. Johnathan then scored his second, a brilliant header from an equally splendid cross from Mirahmetjan Muzepper. Sandro Wagner made it 3-0, finishing a cross at the far post from Frank Acheampong.
Dalian Yifang drew with Hebei China Fortunate 3-3. Marcão opened the scoring for Hebei in the 31st minute, latching onto a cross after Fernandinho beat his man ever so skillfully. Just before halftime, a perfectly floated set piece from Yannick Carrasco fell to Wang Yaopeng at the back post, who calmly applied the finish. Just after the interval, a Carrasco cross struck the arm of a Hebei defender, resulting in a penalty which Carrasco clinically dispatched. In the 69th minute, some brilliant skill in the penalty area from Wang Jinxian won another penalty for Dalian. This time, Salomon Rondon converted the penalty to put his side up 3-1. Yet another penalty was awarded, this time in the 85th minute for Hebei after Dong Xuesheng was tripped in the box. Marcão scored to bring it to 3-2. In the 85th minute Dong Xuesheng scored to level things at 3-3, and Dalian manager will be disappointed with squandering a two goal lead.
Shandong Luneng beat Chongqing Lifan 2-0. Italian striker Graziano Pellè scored the opening goal for Shandong with a strong downward header from a Liu Binbin cross. There was a lack of major chances in the rest of the match. In injury time, Song Wenjie raced down the right flank for Shandong before fizzing a low cross towards the back post for Roger Guedes to prod home. Shandong are now unbeaten in 5 straight league matches, while Jordi Cruyff’s Chongqing suffered their third defeat in their last 6 matches.
Wuhan Zall beat Guangzhou R&F 2-1. In just the 2nd minute, Liu Yun curled in a brilliant free kick from nearly 30 yards out, his first ever goal in the CSL. Liu Yun then added a second, finishing off a rebound after Rafael Silva’s effort was kept out by Guangzhou keeper Cheng Yuelei. Just after halftime, Tang Miao’s cross was met by Gui Hong at the far post as Guangzhou pulled the score back to 2-1.
PANDAILY PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
This week’s Pandaily Player of the Week is Guangzhou Evergrande’s Anderson Talisca. In the most important match of the season, Guangzhou’s star Brazilian forward shone brightest. His understanding with Paulinho is formidable to say the least, while he clinically converted both goals for Guangzhou against the reigning champions Shanghai. The Brazilian moved to Guangzhou Evergrande from Benfica in a deal worth $27 million. At just 25 years of age, Talisca could continue to be an integral figure in Guangzhou’s team for years to come. He showcased his class in the match against Shanghai this past week, and just might have won the league for his side.